Tompkins Avenue in Bed-Stuy just got two new bookstores, reports The Brownstoner.
Full-service bookstore, The Word Is Change, opened its doors at 368 Tompkins Ave., just over a year ago. And, specialty used bookstore Dear Friend Books has set up shop at 343A Tompkins Ave., just a block away.
Both stores are working hard to fill the hole left by the closure of Brownstone Books 10 years ago.
“We really make sure that voices and bodies that are not represented in most bookstores find a good prominent shelf space,” said Alexander Dwinell, founder of The Word is Change.
“There’s so many authors and readers here, but since Brownstone Books closed over 10 years ago now, there hasn’t been a full bookstore. There’s little pop-ups or places that have some books, but not a full-service bookstore.”
The Word Is Change stocks both new and used books, which support radical social movements. And so far, the store continues to focus on community programming as they look to build local relationships with more events.
Up the block at Dear Friend Books, the store's aesthetic is very different. Curated art and books line the walls as the store sells mostly vintage books from the 1900s.
Founder Anna Sergeeva, an artist who works with language as a medium, designed her store to match a knowledge organization system based on the seven chakras. “If any of your chakras are blocked, it manifests in ailments, whether that’s spiritual, physical, emotional, and I think a book in its best form can open a part of you. The intention is to kind of create portals for people to go deeper into themselves.”
The bookstore also serves hot and cold teas and is in the process of applying for a liquor license. In addition to this, an area at the back of the store is slated to become an art gallery. The store plans to hold its first exhibition with a collection of photos taken by Joe Shwartz in the 1930s.
“People thank us for being here, which I wasn’t really expecting. Not at all. Just from day one, there’s almost always people coming in through the store,” Dwinell said.